Thursday, September 09, 2010


High Holy Days Journey with Amichai Lau-Lavie: 40 ways in 40 days to find your focus

Early on the morning of the first day of a new year I rise to praise and thank and think and say hi to that magnificent red bird singing outside in the tree. Gratitude for the magnitude of what is.

And now off to sing together with my community, and bring IT on.

Later, this afternoon, after the prayers and the poems, the singing and the stories, we will head down to the river, to shed the past.

Tashlich – one of the oldest, quaintest, loveliest of Jewish traditions is voodoo – or perhaps, joodoo… take a crumb of bread, leftovers from lunch, and imagine it as every mistake, wrongdoing, regret of the past year – and throw it in the water.

The trees shed their leaves at this time of year, and we are invited to do the same.

So take the time to make a short list of what you want to highlight and delete? What do I really want to change this year and thank for being part of my life and cast into the depths of the water?

Yes, the same items may pop up on my list again next year – but with full intention of cleaning up my act and living more cleanly, more happily, this is the best I can do.

Or, maybe it’s not the mistakes, the ‘sins’ that we shed – but just the excess, the too much that overweighs our lives.

Make room for more of what you really want, need, yearn for.

Imagine your office, home, closet, ‘favorites’ file.

What items are of the least importance, need, usage? What can you get rid of to make more room in your life for what you really need?

What can you shed?

Take breadcrumbs, soap bubbles, rose petals or just your breath, and highlight, and delete.

Yehuda Amichai wrote about it this way:

The waters cannot return in repentance

The waters cannot return in repentance
to where would they return?
To the faucet, the sources, the ground, the roots,
the cloud, the sea, into my mouth?
The waters cannot return in repentance,
every place is their sea, their days of old, their waters of old,
every place a beginning and end, and a beginning.

Yehuda Amichai

Shana Tova!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas as we move forward and, as always, you may find more information about our High Holy Day services by visiting,

1 comment:

  1. Today, because of scheduling and 40+ people expected at my home in the afternoon, my girls and I were unable to perform the traditional ritual of tashlich. Instead, driving in the car, I asked them what they wished I were throwing in the river; what do they wish I would do differently in the coming year. Less yelling, though they first pointed out that that had been a lot better in the past year; not continuing to lecture when I had made my point; letting more of the little things go. Each one exactly what I would have thrown in myself. Then they asked me and each other what they could "throw in," and the conversation was not acrimonious, rather a reasoned, careful, considerate discussion of what we could try to do differently. There was almost no disagreement that each of these elements were true, and worth working on. I missed the bread toss, but this worked really well. I love Judaism's flexibility and creativity, the way we can practice the spirit of the law when the letter can't be done. Shana Tovah.